What a day we had in the beautiful beachside resort town of Akumal. About a 45 minute drive from Playa that Luis our friend had arranged for us. His friend had a king-size van that was able to drive all 8 of us to one of THE best places to snorkel and dive in the Riviera Maya. We were SO excited.
To say this place knocked our socks off is an understatement (well my socks would have been knocked off had I been wearing any!)
Plush green foliage, hedges & palm trees lined the drive in to the beach. It unfolds before your eyes this long beach with bars and places to rent lifejackets & snorkeling equipment. It has little cliffs and luxury small resorts built on either ends of the area. So once we were all suited up including the kids off we went to explore the second largest reef in the world. It was amazing; the ocean was like bathwater and the reef was so alive with structures of magnificent colors we almost didn't know where to look next. The sun was so strong it beamed through the waters like laser beams.
We saw so many
colorful fish like angel fish, grouper, cariba fish and what looked like a small barracuda. But the biggest thrill and what was my main objective was seeing turtles and I was THE first to spot two. (if you don't know about my love of turtles, then you have NOT been paying attention to previous blogs!!!) OMG, it was amazing swimming with them, witnessing them eating and then rising to the top of the ocean to raise their glorious little heads out of the water. I was thrilled. The girls saw turtles too with fish riding on their back that turned out to be "remora" fish which are sucker like fish that attach to bigger marine life like turtles. We figure the fish must be eating particles off the turtles shells. OR perhaps the turtles are the Blue Line taxis of the ocean
Snorkeling in the ocean is hard work let me tell you, fighting the waves and ensuring you never touch the reef at all. You aren't allowed to touch the reef as touching hard corals and other organisms can damage and kill them and sadly over the past decade there has been a decline in the reef.
Further some coral has stinging cells & sharp spines which Kelsey found out and when accidentally hit one with her knee. It's highly recommended that you also bring sunblock that won't harm the reef which has to be cleared upon entering there.
After hours of enjoying this experience, we finally dragged ourselves ashore. We went to a mini mart for a six pack of Sol and drinks for the kids and the driver. This tired "snorkeler" (me) hit the bar for a takeout margarita with NO salt; I think I consumed enough in the ocean (gurlgle gurgle!)
We ordered fajitas with guacamole and had a beachside picnic under the big palm trees and got to know our driver Ramido. Talk about a nice guy who grew up somewhere past Belize I believe he said but came to Playa for work. He's with a fleet of tourist vehicles. His wife is a police officer out of Cancun, and he has an 11 year old daughter. He's a great connection for us, not only as a reasonably priced driver, but because he know so much about the area, and how to take us on different adventures. Let me tell you,
it was HOT. Probably the hottest day we've ever had here. After we had lunch we hit the bar for a few games of pool. I hate to brag, but I beat Ramido our driver at two games of pool. My old pool shooting days with Al & Marth was still in my DNA. Rory is going to be a great pool player with that technique of hers! We finally left late afternoon; the van had air conditioning on high but it still wasn't cutting it on the drive home so Al and I kept pouring water on towels for the kids heads.
After an early morning start, we were bushed when we got home. We hit the pool and relaxed till dark on our balcony watching the busy beach and listening to the bar band next door. What a great day for a family. We experienced something new together, and the girls were fantastic little snorkelers.
I mentioned the story about the girls paying for their yogurt with a $20 and coming back with a fortune in pesos. We of course agreed the money had to be returned but my thought was to wait till the owner
was there, who we've met many times so we could explain what happened & so he'd know that he needed to go over converting of foregin currency with his servers. When we arrived, the owner was on his cell phone visibly upset with a flurry of Spanish and all I heard was "pesos" being bantered around. So I walked up and said "hey how are you doing" and he said "not too good but don't worry about it" and tried to shrug it off. When I pulled out the four $500 pesos and a $50 and a $20 peso his face just dropped with absolute relief. He knew we'd come back to return the money. What a great lesson for our girls to see now that they are handling money on their own. They realized the impact of doing a good deed had on someone else's life. He would have had to sell a lot of smoothies to make up that money. So he gave us back the $20 US and the smoothies from the day before were on the house! A good ending all around. I love positive life learning lessons for our girls. (Unlike the painful ones I
had growing up like sticking your tongue to a cold post in elementary school. Those are one time ones you don't forget!!!)
Last night before bed we saw the most incredible moon rise ever over the ocean. Big full moon in the night sky with puffs of clouds around it, which made for a beautiful shine off the water. We closed up shop and the girls and I fell asleep together on the couch (see pics below...come on now, go take a look)
SO, I have just woken to a very hot morning; and there's no breeze today. She's going to be a scorcher. Gotta run, apparently it's my birthday and little hands were at work making me homemade cards. I will try and show Rory's card (made me cry with one of her comments being, "thanks for showering me in awesome-ness every day!" awww shucks, gosh darn it...boo hoo...!)
Off for a family walk and maybe if I play my cards right one of those mimosas (champagne & OJ).
PS Mom and dad, Al wants me to pass on these words to you.
"Thanks for having such a great daughter that I have been
blessed with in my life and I am forever grateful to you for having her, and I realize this especially on her birthday, the day she was born"! Awww isn't that sweet, what a guy that Al is! OK, alright, he didn't QUITE say all that, well aw shucks he didn't say any of that, but I know he WOULD say that if he could...Right Al? Al..."youwho where are you Al"? (Hahahaha, I better shut up now before I get in any more trouble!!) "It's my birthday and I'll write what I want to, write what I want to..."
Loving my birthday in Playa! (Al...now come over here and write something nice about me...Al...are you hiding behind a palm tree?)
PS lots of photos today; it may be on two pages...
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